Neighbourhood Empowerment in North London (NENL)

Published on: 14/01/2009
Neither the social technology nor an understanding of community empowerment issues are sufficient on their own to ensure that communities grow stronger, but together they can change the way the world works. What is Harringay Online? Harringay Online is a neighbourhood network working to strengthen the neighbourhood of Harringay in the north London Borough of Haringey. Through social networking technology Harringay Online provides a virtual high street cafe-cum-village hall, which blends web-based and real world neighbourhood interactions to build stronger more empowered communities. What does Harringay Online aim to do? Harringay Online is focussed on achieving four main outcomes: - Building a sense of place in a neighbourhood – an understanding and appreciation of the neighbourhood to encourage a feeling of belonging and regarding a place as home. - Building social capital in the neighbourhood – building networks, norms and trust that enable people to act together more effectively to pursue shared objectives – simply put building community spirit or neighbourliness. - Empowering local people to take action shape their neighbourhood – working to improve local people’s ability to influence local decisions and affect local circumstances - Engaging people in local democratic processes. Ultimately our goal is to increase the wellbeing levels of people in neighbourhoods.

Policy Context

Empowerment / engagement / wellbeing

Description of target users and groups

People in the neighbourhood of Harringay, north London.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

Volunteer run, learning and developing as we go.

Technology solution

Social network. Technology choice: Proprietary technology

Main results, benefits and impacts

- Shaped local decisions - forged relationships between existing local groups - involved local residents in variety of local campaigns - facilitated start-up of new local groups - initiated agreement for street festival with local council - initiated agreement for local charter with local council - set up new social group intorducing neighbours for the first time. - Organised summer neighbourhood party in secondf year of operation - Judges commendation at Catalyst Awards 2008

Return on investment

Return on investment: Not applicable / Not available

Track record of sharing

Have shared with variety of bodies and individuals.

Lessons learnt

- it takes time! - involve existing local groups, but don't exepect immediate approval - broaden involvement asap to ensure the project is co-owned. Scope: Local (city or municipality)